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Press the F5 button on the keyboard to start this tutorial. The Phosphorus Cycle. Start from the beginning. Make it Rain!. The Producers. The Consumers. The Decomposers. The Quiz. The Human Factor. Back. Home. Why is Phosphorus Important?.

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Press the f5 button on the keyboard to start this tutorial

Press the F5 button on the keyboard to start this tutorial


The phosphorus cycle

The Phosphorus Cycle

Start from the beginning

Make it Rain!

The Producers

The Consumers

The Decomposers

The Quiz

The Human Factor


Why is phosphorus important

Back

Home

Why is Phosphorus Important?

DNA molecules are made from three smaller molecules:

  • Sugar

  • Nitrogen base

  • ???

    What is the 3rd molecule of DNA?

Fatty acid

Phosphate group

Mono-saccharide

No. Fatty acids are in lipids.

No. Monosaccharaides are in carbohydrates.

correct


Why is phosphorus important1

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Why is Phosphorus Important?

ATP is a molecule needed by cells for _______.

ATP stands for Adenosine Tri________?

Energy

Food

Releasing CO2

Hint: What does the mitochondria create?

Hint: What does the mitochondria create?

correct

prokaryote

Poly-saccharide

phosphate

Which choice looks like “phosphorus?”

Which choice looks like “phosphorus?”

correct


Why is phosphorus important2

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Why is Phosphorus Important?

Which part of a cell is semi-permeable and allows some materials to enter/exit the cell?

The cell membrane is made from a double layer of lipids called “phospholipids.” Which element is implied by the prefix “phospho?”

Mito-chondria

Cell membrane

Rough ER

Hint: What does the mitochondria create?

Hint: What does the mitochondria create?

correct

waste

waste

waste

Phosphorus

Potassium

Plutonium

glucose

glucose

Phospho…cmon!

Phospho…cmon!

correct

glucose


Why is phosphorus important3

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Why is Phosphorus Important?

Our cells need phospholipids, DNA, and ATP. They each have phosphorus in them.

So where does the phosphorus come from? Phosphorus come from rocks. Rocks are solid lumps of minerals, and some of those minerals are phosphorus. So when rocks crumble and erode, phosphorus is released from the rocks. The weather causes rocks to crumble. Wind, cold, and rain cause dust sized fragments of rocks to chip off, thus releasing phosphorus into the ground


Make it rain

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Make it Rain!

The weather causes phosphorus to be released from rocks. Click the cloud to make it rain.

Small bits of phosphorus are released into the ecosystem due to the weather.

Click the cloud to make it stop raining.

Now that there is phosphorus in the soil, click on the land organism that can absorb it through their roots.

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P

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Snails don’t have roots.

Roots… think roots


The producers

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The Producers

Of course! Plants simply absorb the phosphorus through their roots. Click on the roots to proceed.

Now that plants have phosphorus they can use it to make their DNA, ATP, and phospholipids.

Click on the herbivore (primary consumer) in the diagram.

P

P

P

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Decomposers feed on the dead. This plant is alive.

P


The consumers

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The Consumers

Of course! The snail is an herbivore so it eats the plant. This is how animals get the phosphorus to make their DNA, ATP, and phospholipids.

Phosphorus simply moves up the food chain. Which organism would likely eat snails?

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Maybe accidentally, but cows are herbivores too.

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Wolves are hunters. I don’t think they would hunt snails.


Up the food chain

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Up the Food Chain

P

The snail eats the plant…

The frog eats the snail…

Which would likely eat the frog?

You got it. Phosphorus moves up the food chain.

P

P

I’m an herbivore.

I’m an herbivore.


The decomposers

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The Decomposers

Like any organism, decomposers make waste. They release their waste into the ecosystem. Some of their waste even contains phosphorus.

This whole thing started with crumbling rocks…remember?

Decomposers are organisms such as mushrooms and bacteria. They have DNA, ATP, and phospholipids also, so that means they need phosphorus too.

Will decomposers feed on dead plants?

You got it. Will they feed on dead snails?

We’re almost done.

Examine the picture… if decomposers release phosphorus into the soil, which organism can reuse the phosphorus?

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P

I hope you see why it’s called the phosphorus cycle.

P

The plants

P

yes

no

The rocks

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Rocks aren’t organisms

P

The snails

P

yes

no

What do snails eat?

P


The quiz

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The Quiz

DNA

ATP

Carbohydrate

Phospholipid

1. Which molecule does not contain phosphorus?

2. How does phosphorus get into the soil in the first place?

3. Where do herbivores get phosphorus from?

4. Where do carnivores get phosphorus from?

5. Where do decomposers get phosphorus from?

From rocks

From decomposers

From consumers

From producers

From rocks

From decomposers

From consumers

From producers

From rocks

From decomposers

From consumers

From producers

From any dead organism

From decomposers only

From consumers only

From producers only


The human factor

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The Human Factor

Sadly, human actions are disrupting the phosphorus cycle. Humans, like this farmer, routinely add extra phosphorus to soil because phosphorus is a fertilizer. What do you think the extra phosphorus does for the farmer’s crops?

No. Weed killer kills weeds.

Kill weeds

No. Pesticides kill bugs.

Kill bugs

Yes, exactly!

Stimulates growth

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So if phosphorus helps crops grow, why is this bad?

P


Why is this bad

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Why is this Bad?

The extra phosphorus is intended to help crops grow better, but often the phosphorus is washed away into rivers, lakes, and ponds when it rains.

Rain Rain Go Away

Make it rain

The extra phosphorus got washed away and is collecting in this pond. Since the phosphorus is a fertilizer, it causes algae in the pond to grow at an extreme rate. These extreme algae growths are called “algal blooms.” As the algae eventually die, the decaying process uses up the oxygen in the pond, thus all the fish die. Once the fish die, so does the rest of the ecosystem.

P

P

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Wanna go for a swim

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Wanna go for a swim?


Wanna go for a swim1

Back

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Wanna go for a swim?


Wanna go for a swim2

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Wanna go for a swim?


Is there any hope

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Is There Any Hope?

You can help stop this problem.

Purchasing organic food supports farmers who do NOT use extra fertilizers.


Is there any hope1

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Is There Any Hope?

You can help stop this problem.

Purchasing organic food supports farmers who do NOT use extra fertilizers.

Not using fertilizers in your home garden prevents the spread of excess phosphorus.


Is there any hope2

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Is There Any Hope?

You can help stop this problem.

Purchasing organic food supports farmers who do NOT use extra fertilizers.

Not using fertilizers in your home garden prevents the spread of excess phosphorus.

Often, produce sold at a farmer’s market is organic. The Beverly Hills Farmer’s Market is every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.


The end

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The End


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